I Never Made a Dime off My Website

The Biggest Lesson in Websites you need to learn:  You get out of it what you put you put into it.

It’s that time of year again.  I got a call from a potential customer trying to get a quick fix for their website.  The site had been up for about 4 years and they were convinced they had never made a dime off the website and couldn’t figure out why.

I am not sure how or when it was that business owners got the idea that websites were magic revenue generators and all you had to do was launch one and you would have instant riches and a client list a mile long. I am not sure this was ever true,  it may be an old attitude leftover from TV days,  where running a commercial on prime time TV with one of the major networks would automatically make the phone ring.  But even TV commercials don’t work that way anymore.

If you are of the belief that you have never made a dime off the website you paid for, some marketing strategies may be in order.

Why Your Website Isn’t Making Money

What is your indicator that your website isn’t making money?  –  If your website includes an online store and you haven’t sold anything, that’s a bigger problem.   Using the example of the client that called me last week,  they are a service provider.  Customers can’t purchase their services off the website.  So what would the website need to do to generate money?  Many times I get the answer that the phone number is on the website, people should call.  But do you say that on the site?  Do you tell people when they can call?  Is it easy to find the phone number?  A first step in solving this problem would be to figure out what customers need to do when they find your site and then make sure it is obvious.   Don’t rely on just your own judgement,  ask others if it is obvious to them.

Is your website easy to find in the first place? – Are you tracking how people get to your website?  Are you tracking how many people get to your website in the first place?  Do a fact-finding exercise,  try to find your website without typing your website address in the address bar of your browser.   Keep track of how long it took you to find your own website.  Then answer this question:  would a new customer work this hard to find you? A website left on its own for four years will not automatically generate its own online visibility,  you have to spread the word.

Is there a good reason for someone to go to your website?  I recently read a blog post talking about how no one is creating tri-fold brochures anymore.  If you website is nothing more then a repeat of a tri-fold brochure,  I would suspect you are getting the same amount of attention.  If I read your website once,  is there a reason to come back again?  Content generates traffic,  especially content that anyone would find useful, whether they have done business with you yet or not.  If you don’t like the amount of attention your website is getting,  think about what you could add to the site that would generate more attention.

Your corporate website should be an active member of your team, but it will not perform if you ignore it for 4 years.   Website activity generates website traffic.   Before you completely write-off what you spent on your site,  try re-engaging first.  Remember,  the site didn’t go stale overnight and you won’t get your website traffic back overnight either.